Career Path - Ryan Tengler, Product Designer at Yesware

February 18, 2020

Career Path - Ryan Tengler, Product Designer at Yesware

What do the career path and the day-in-the-life look like for a Product Designer at Yesware?

We connected with Ryan Tengler to find out!

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Where did you grow up?  What did your parents do for work?  

I spent most of my younger years growing up in a small town about 45 minutes outside of Boston. It was about as rural as you get for being so close to the city. When my brother and I were born my mom left her line of work to focus on spending more time with us, while my dad continued to work as an entrepreneur in the software and restaurant industries. 

Where did you go to college?  What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?

"People always make the difference" — when I think back to my college experience and selection process, I always think back to this one mantra. It was something my dad would repeat to me throughout my childhood, and a belief I carry with me to this day. It would be a lie to say anything other than feeling helplessly lost when applying to colleges and trying to decide in that moment what I wanted from my life, which led me to apply to a comical number of universities just to buy me some time as I attempted to figure it out. I eventually landed at Bryant University for a number of reasons, but one of which being the people and professors I met when visiting.

Throughout my time there I continued to explore and discover my interests in part by introducing myself to the professors and department heads that seemed most passionate and excited about their field of work. This ultimately led to several wonderful mentorships and segways into extracurricular projects that shaped a meaningful part of my college journey, culminating in a degree that was largely focused on entrepreneurial studies, communication, and sociology. 

After graduating I came right to Yesware as a sales enablement intern. I was fortunate enough to join its younger years as a startup where the potential of carving your own path is slightly greater. As an intern I was able to divide my focus amongst a variety of projects that spanned departments and allowed me to learn from many people at once. And it was at this time that I learned about something that Yesware does brilliantly — if for a moment you thought of each job I had as an intern as an individual food item, I was allowed to fill up my plate with as many different foods as I wanted, then slowly pair back to only the foods that I enjoyed the most. It was this approach that allowed me to explore adding value to various parts of the business while simultaneously discovering areas of natural interest that I gravitated towards and wanted to pursue. This model has led to a few different career jumps so far at Yesware, starting with sales enablement intern, to sales engineer, to managing our customizations process, to now, a product designer! 

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?

People, and the collective growth mindset of Yesware. One of Yesware’s biggest strengths is their dedication to supporting their employees, and over the years I think we’ve cultivated an amazing cohort of individuals that deeply share this mentality and do their best to help others succeed. 

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as product designer at Yesware?

My main responsibility as a product designer is to think critically about the user experience and design solutions that generate as much value and excitement for our customers as possible. Achieving this includes a fair amount of ideation and user research as the design process evolves from scribbly sketches to a pixel-perfect mockups that our engineers then bring to life. 

Any tips for someone considering a career in product design?

I would encourage them to speak with as many people as possible in the design field beforehand, and should they decide to move forward in this career path, be relentless about asking for constructive feedback at every turn. As I didn’t get a formal education in product design, or any other forms of design for that matter, learning from other’s feedback has been my greatest source of improvement. 

Day in the Life

Coffee, tea, or nothing?

Usually tea. Though recently I’ve befriended a former Blue Bottle employee that’s been super generous with some free, delicious coffee. 

What time do you get into the office? 

Usually between 9:00 and 9:30.

What are three things that motivate you in your role?

Making a genuine difference in the daily lives of our users, working through difficult product challenges, and being free to express creativity in multiple forms. 

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

Every day typically consists of a handful of meetings and team ceremonies, along with providing feedback to engineers on projects involving UI/UX work, and working through various stages of the design process depending on the size and scope of any given project. 

What time do you head out of the office? 

Typically around 5:30.

Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?  

I usually shut it down. I’ve been trying to do a better job at keeping a steady work/life balance and spending energy elsewhere outside of work. 

Any productivity hacks?

I intermittently put my phone on airplane mode throughout the day, especially if I’m trying to focus on a large task. Highly recommend if you have a bad habit of checking your phone.

What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?

1Password, Google Maps, and WhatsApp. 

What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

In my former role as a sales engineer, my main responsibility was to help customers better leverage and tell stories with the data we capture on their behalf. Throughout the two years I spent in that role, I was able to work with our largest customers and spend time with their sales leaders to deeply learn and understand their most pressing goals and needs, and work with them to drive those goals forward in ways they could only do with a tool like Yesware. It felt great knowing that I could make such a meaningful difference to our customers. 

Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?

My parents are my greatest heros. My mom just celebrated her 36th anniversary as a stage 4 cancer survivor, and my dad is one of those people you’d never forget even if you just met him for a couple of minutes — he has this aura of energy and positivity around him that’s both infectious and grounding. Together they’ve taught me the value of positive persistence, believing in people, and always leading with a positive attitude. Whether I’m seeking professional or personal advice, they’re always my first call.

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